Similar themes are present in our language’s metaphors regarding sexual activity. These cultural metaphors provide important clues about the conceptualization of sexual behavior. Language is powerful in defining the experiences of people in a society. Therefore, an examination of cultural metaphors is necessary to understand the sexual experiences of people in our culture and its implications for conceptualizations of sexual assault which rely on consent. Four metaphors will be discussed.
Sexuality as a Possession
The first metaphor conceptualizes sexuality as a desired possession. It is not uncommon to hear romantic partners tell each other, “I want you” or “Tell me you’re mine.” Moreover, men and women use this language to describe their overwhelming need to obtain sex, using phrases such as “I gotta have it” and “I need to get me some.” This language has become so common that its objectifying nature is obscured. Sexuality becomes an object to barter or sell, an object to be coveted or stolen. This analogy emphasizes dominance and control in intimate relationships. Equality between partners is subverted. Mutuality is marginalized.